Think of a swamp. Locate the most dangerous animal in the waters that come to mind. Now imagine that you earn your living wrestling and hunting these creatures. Yes, RJ Molinere, now a grandfather, makes his living in the Louisiana swamps hunting alligators. Still, Molinere is not just any grandfather – raised by his mother, and he has 19 titles in arm wrestling, ranging from national to international competitions. Faced with this combination of unlikely components, it’s not surprising that the History Channel was eager to feature him in their docuseries, “Swamp People”.
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Early life and family
Roland J Molinere II was born on September 21, 1961 in Louisiana, USA. RJ has a brothernamed Al, 11 years younger, and an older sister named Deanna.
Though RJ never mentioned his mother by name, he reveals that it was she who taught him to hunt alligators in 1979. They are descendants of the Houma, a Native American tribe, and thus speak Houma Cajun French fluently. His mother was well versed in their hunting-and-gathering lifestyle which she passed on to her sons, Al and RJ, who then began hunting alligators together as teenagers.
Arm wrestling star
RJ Molinere has an impressive array of awards when it comes to arm wrestling. This seems to be a common family trait as his son has won awards for his activities in the boxing ring. Molinere has won the World Arm Wrestling Championship four times, the Arnold Classic Arm Wrestling Championship twice, the National Championship eleven times, and twice more than GNC Champion.
However, his path was not always easy and his career almost ended when he got into a car accident in 2003. This was just after he won the World Championship in Canada and not realizing how badly injured he was, he tried to compete in the Arnold Classic Championship but his injuries wore off and his arm was completely useless. RJ described it as: Houma Today like “They were just playing with me. There was nothing.” Fortunately for RJ, his son Jay Paul was there to help him with the recovery process. Between the two of them, and a homemade recovery routine, he was able to get back into shape and ready to compete again.
If there’s anything the History Channel values, it’s unconventional livelihoods steeped in tradition.
When RJ was first approached to appear on the show “Swamp People”, he was unable to accept the offer because they demanded that he have a partner to go hunting. Just in time for the second season, his son Jay Paul Molinere dropped out of college and was able to join his father in the swamp.
Swamp People premiered on August 22, 2010, and its popularity has ensured the show’s prosperity. The docuseries drew 3.1 million viewers for its premiere episode and made history when it was viewed by 5.5 million for the final episode of the second season, and remains today on the popular History Channel series. It inevitably sparked some controversy from animal lovers, who accused the show of promoting animal cruelty and slaughter as a sport.
They failed to stop the show, and it must be recognized that alligator hunting as depicted in the series is not a sport, but an act of survival and livelihood, and is highly regulated.
The show follows various teams of alligator hunters during the short hunting season, which lasts just 30 days a year. In accordance with the law, each hunting team is given a limited number of tags – each tag represents a single alligator they are allowed to kill. Once they’ve used up those tags, they won’t be allowed to hunt for the rest of the season. These thirty days are the only days of the year they are allowed to hunt, and are often full of excitement as they need to make enough profit to last for a whole year.
When asked about the scariest thing he’d ever experienced while hunting, RJ . said replied, ironically: “Probably the scariest thing I remember was thinking…how do we get this 13 and a half foot alligator into this 12 foot boat.” Fans were disappointed when RJ and his son left the show after his 10e season in 2014, amid much controversy over the firing of most of the original cast.
RJ Molinere’s days on “Swamp People” may be over, but his association with it isn’t. His performance on the show earned him international fame and he has a large follower base on social media. Molinere has used his fame to launch new business opportunities such as swamp tours and guest appearances. He and his son continue to hunt alligators, whose meat is in demand in the catering industry.
Looks like RJ doesn’t have much of a relationship with his siblings. While we know that his brother coached his son in boxing, the only time they’ve seen interaction is on an episode of “Swamp People.” This is not to say that RJ is not lonely in any way.
RJ is married to Stacy Emma, a practicing nurse. He has two daughters with her, Natasha, and Brittany, who are also nurses, as well as a son named Roland Molinere III (Jay Paul Molinere), who often accompanies his father at work. Jay Paul is also in a relationship with his longtime girlfriend Ashleigh Price with whom he has two children – Jayden and A’niyiah Nikole – which makes RJ a proud grandfather.
Conflict with the law
In 2013, RJ and Jay Paul Molinere were a subject of much controversy when they… arrested on charges of aggravated assault. Although the public was never notified of the outcome of the situation, it was alleged that the two had teamed up against a 24-year-old man, who called police and claimed there had been a verbal altercation on the highway, who escalated into a fight. The fight went all the way to the mini-mart where the two had hit the man on the head with a beer bottle. Initially unable to reach the Molineres, the two turned themselves in when they noticed an arrest warrant had been issued. They were charged and booked, but were released on $1,000 bail each. It is not known whether they have been acquitted of these charges.
Houma’s Native American heritage of which the Molinere family is so proud is evident in RJ’s traits more than in the rest of his family. With a dark brown complexion and a fit and muscular body, RJ looks very different from most other men in his age group. RJ has light brown hair, which is mostly kept short with the exception of a long, sleek braid that he is incredibly proud of. RJ is 1.76 m tall and weighs 72 kg of almost pure muscle.
Net worth and salary
In the aftermath of the show, RJ had to seek new sources of income. A determined and hardworking man, he has never abandoned his craft and heritage and has a net worth of $800,000 as of mid-2020.